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Enter the world of cows, nanoballoons, trees and Lego robots at Discover

A young pupil is fascinated by one of the robots

A young pupil is fascinated by one of the robots Dane Comerford

Youngsters get to grips with an exhibit

Youngsters get to grips with an exhibit Dane Comerford

Press release issued: 27 February 2012

Stick your hand up a life-size model cow, unravel the mysteries of microscopic objects and discover the secrets hidden in dinosaur fossils. These are just some of the exhibitions and activities which will be enjoyed by over 4,000 visitors to The Galleries shopping centre, in Broadmead, for Discover - the University of Bristol’s public celebration of its research.

The free event, which runs from 8 to 10 March, features 21 interactive exhibits and involves over 150 staff and students who will be presenting some of the University’s most exciting work.

The bumper crowd will include over 1,000 primary school pupils from across Bristol, who will get their hands on the interactive exhibits during the first two days of the event as they learn more about the world we live in.

Eight sections of old beech trees are being brought into The Galleries to show how soldiers marked their wartime experiences and hopes on the trees in Northern France and on Salisbury Plains. Visitors will be able to carve their own messages and discover how such unusual records are used in historical research today.

Another hands-on exhibit features life-sized model cows, which are used by students in the Bristol Veterinary School to learn about milking and birthing. One of the models is ‘haptic’ which means it has virtual technology to monitor hand movements inside the model and show them on a computer so that students can learn to detect pregnancy and various illnesses.

The three-day Discover event will also include demonstrations by Professor Bruce Hood, who delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, looking at what our brains are made of and how they work.

Visitors will also be given the chance to make their own nanostructures using balloons, explore the secrets hidden in dinosaur fossils, learn about how to keep their hearts healthy and make robots out of Lego.

Dr Maggie Leggett, Head of the University’s Centre for Public Engagement, said: “Discover aims to provide a whistle-stop tour of the fascinating, often groundbreaking, research which takes place here in Bristol. The hands-on exhibits are fun and interesting for children and adults alike, and in some cases they are part of real experiments.

“Our staff and students work around the globe, exploring every aspect of the world we live in. Discover is a great opportunity for them to talk to local people and find out what they think about the research happening in their city.”

Entry to Discover is free and open to the public all day, from 9am to 6pm on 8 to 10 March.

Discover forms part of the University’s contribution to National Science and Engineering Week, an annual event arranged by the British Science Association which aims to increase public engagement with academic endeavour.

For further information, please visit the Discover webpage, email cpe-info@bristol.ac.uk or telephone 0117 331 8318.